8,048 runners joined Britain’s greatest distance runner Sir Mo Farah to complete the Vitality Westminster Mile today, making the event officially the biggest ever timed mile in the world.
Seven pupils from Westminster’s St Augustine High School met Sir Mo before their race, and he congratulated them on their work to support charities at home and overseas. The school has been raising sponsorship money for the British Heart Foundation and for the charity Street Sports Hope, which is supporting a sports programme for young girls and boys who have been orphaned by Ebola and conflict in Sierra Leone. The school has raised more than £3,150 to date, and pupils carried on raising funds at this year’s event.
The Vitality Westminster Mile, which starts on The Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace, is known as the ‘most iconic mile in the world’. Organised by Westminster City Council and London Marathon Events Ltd, it offers events for people of all ages and abilities with races for families, adults, children, wheelchairs, elites, veterans and an special Olympians mile, open to anyone who has represented Team GB in any sport at a winter or summer Olympic Games.
Cabinet member for Economic Development, Education and Community Cllr David Harvey, who participated in one of the waves alongside Lord Mayor of Westminster Cllr Lindsey Hall, said:
“The Vitality Westminster Mile has again shown that running in our wonderful historic and green spaces is a great way for people of all ages and abilities to give themselves a challenge, have fun with their families and get fit in the process. I pay tribute to the energy and enthusiasm of everyone who has taken part in the races today, from world-famous athletes to local schoolchildren and senior citizens.
“It’s brilliant that school children from St Augustine High School have used the event to raise funds to help people to participate in sports in Sierra Leone. This embodies the spirit of community and solidarity that the Vitality Westminster Mile represents. I’m glad they had the opportunity to meet the inspirational Sir Mo Farah, who has done so much to promote the best of British values.”
Sam Ebzao, who teaches at St Augustines, said:
“The Westminster Mile is a day where everything connects beautifully; the values of unity, respect and kindness we aim to promote each day really come to fruition, and the positive effects of these are felt by children less fortunate than us in Sierra Leone. Through our 'Bigger Picture' project, we encourage our students to use the power of sport to make a difference to life's bigger issues; whether that be tackling gender imbalances, or in this case poverty around the world. It's fantastic to see them engaging in this event whole-heartedly. They deserve a lot of praise.”
Middle-distance runner Chris O’Hare won the elite men’s race with a time of four minutes and four seconds to claim the Sir Roger Bannister trophy. Bannister, who died in March this year, was the first person in history to record a sub-four-minute mile. The Vitality Westminster Mile has previously seen David Weir CBE become the first person to record a sub-three-minute mile.
The previous record of 7,664 completions for a timed mile event was set at the New York Fifth Avenue Mile last year.
The 2019 Vitality Westminster Mile is scheduled to take place on Sunday 26 May and entries are now open at Vitality Westminster Mile.
For more news, visit Vitality Westminster Mile news.